David Rowe has been building a version of the SL Viewer, well, the Firestorm version of the SL Viewer, that supports Shutter glasses and the Oculus Rift. These versions are labeled experimental., probably for multiple reasons. There is no doubt the viewer is experimental for the very obvious reasons the Rift has yet to be officially released and the Lab has yet to release a viewer with Rift support.
David has deliberately avoided doing much with the user interface for his Rift supporting viewer. His intention was to wait until the Lab released their viewer. I suppose with a base UI established a decision could be made whether that wheel was round enough or needed improvement.
We have seen where the Lab has announced their Rift enabled viewer reached feature completion. (See: Breaking Oculus news 2013/12) But, I have yet to see a Release Candidate of the Lab’s viewer. Nor have I heard whether the code has reached third party developers. My thinking is it hasn’t.
I suspect the Lab is waiting for the official release of the Rift. But, there may be a reason for a delay. Is the Lab doing usability studies? We don’t know. I would hope they are.
The Rift is believed to have the potential to pull large numbers of people into Second Life. We see some big players, like Sony and others, preparing for virtual reality. So, I believe that potential is seen by many. But, it is still tempered by the large move away from desktop computing to mobile. It is going to be hard to adapt VR to a mobile public. Texting has created enough problems.
Those large numbers of new users are going to need as intuitive a user interface as possible. How well it is done will likely have a major impact on user retention of Rift users coming in.
Whatever the case on usability, this release of the CtrlAltSudio Viewer provides more user interface controls for the Rift. See the release notes like announcement article here: 188.8.131.52412 Alpha 8. A very short discussion of the changes in this version is here: Alpha 8: A Few Miscellaneous Tweaks.
Those with an Oculus Rift SDK will likely enjoy this release. This Friday we will find out what Firestorm is doing and likely when they plan to release the next version of their viewer. I can’t tell whether David is including the latest Firestorm changes or if he is deliberately staying behind the FS Team to allow them to release features first.